Alum becomes 1st DO to lead Dallas County Medical Society

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In the late 1970s when Jim Walton, DO, MBA, graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, he and others faced a clear and inconsistently applied bias against the profession.

What a difference 40 years make.

Dr. Walton was recently installed as the 132nd president of the Dallas County Medical Society and the first osteopathic physician to serve in the position.  In his new role, he’ll lead the second-largest county medical society in the United States with more than 7,000 physicians, medical students and residents.

“Being the first osteopathic physician to serve as president was a little bit of a surprise,” Dr. Walton said. “But having worked with the medical society a dozen years, and considering the relationships I built with physician leaders around care for the underserved, it just seemed a natural next step to participate in the over-arching leadership, too.”

He credits TCOM with producing many skilled physicians who worked diligently to break down barriers against osteopathic physicians in all fields of health care delivery and management.

“It’s a tribute to the school and the work that has been done over the decades,” he said.

Since graduating from TCOM in 1982, Dr. Walton initially practiced as an internist in Waxahachie before transitioning to health care management for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.  He earned an MBA at the University of Michigan in 2009.

But he has never lost sight of his goal to provide medical services to the economically disadvantaged. For 12 years he was active with the Dallas County Medical Society and the Texas Medical Association, working to improve Medicaid operations and funding.

Additionally, at the Dallas County Medical Society, Dr. Walton served as medical director for Project Access Dallas, a network of 2,000 physicians and 15 hospitals providing comprehensive health care access to uninsured people throughout Dallas County.

Currently, as president & CEO of Genesis Physicians Group, he oversees the largest independent practice association in North Texas, supporting 1,400 doctors in their efforts to provide quality medical care while transitioning to accountable care management and clinical integration.

In his new role as DCMS president, he plans to work with the organization to identify how physicians can focus on vulnerable populations during this period of rapid marketplace change, while simultaneously supporting physicians who wish to maintain independent private practices.

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